Domestic Airfares Plunging Ahead of Peak Spring Travel Season

U.S. domestic airfare has dropped considerably this month amid coronavirus (COVID-19) fears.

According to travel booking website Hopper, which analyzes billions of airfare price quotes everyday, domestic airfare dropped an average of 14 percent between March 4 and March 7 to $230 roundtrip.

What’s more, marquee spring break destinations such as Miami, New York and Las Vegas have gone on sale, experiencing price drops anywhere from 29 to 35 percent.

The discounts come despite the fact that demand for domestic travel is up 6.5 percent since the first week of January, compared to just a 1.3 percent increase at the same time last year. However, demand for travel to Asia, where the outbreak originated, is down 23 percent since the first week of January and demand for Europe has declined 5.8 percent from the start of 2020.

“Airlines are slashing prices to further incentivize leisure travel within the U.S.,” wrote Hopper’s Hayley Berg. “Low oil prices and volatile demand for travel in the industry will likely mean prices will remain low for travelers through spring and potentially into summer 2020.”

In addition to Miami, New York and Las Vegas, other notable cities seeing massive price drops this March include Los Angeles, Phoenix, Orlando and Tampa, where roundtrip ticket prices are down by at least 25 percent. Washington, D.C., Seattle and Honolulu are also bargain destinations heading into spring break, according to Hopper’s research.

Beyond cutting back on routes experiencing slumping demand and slashing airfares this spring, airline CEOs are taking pay cuts and carriers are also issuing change and cancellation fee waivers to provide customers with added flexibility when booking flights.

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